OOO-ing Studio, the hair salon defying Taiwan’s beauty taboos

Robert Hundley

Bringing jellyfish cuts and acid-neon colour to the streets of Taiwan’s fastest-rising metropolis, the Day-Glo masterminds powering OOO-ing Studio have kickstarted a movement, tackling social taboos head-on to inform stories by hair

Taken from the winter 2022 issue of Dazed. You can buy a duplicate of our most up-to-date issue in this article

Tucked into a quiet, slender alley, it would be simple to blunder OOO-ing Studio for just one more hair salon in Taichung’s Nantun district. A skateboard sits outside as decoration, as it would at the foot of college student halls or a shared property. Based on the day, you could see a bicycle or scooter parked nearby (for younger people today in Taiwan, scooters are the manner of transport du jour). Inside of, blinding fluorescent lights illuminate a stark white interior, and tall vertical mirrors sit in entrance of the space’s 5 buyer seats. For a salon that has come to be entire world-renowned for supplying new perspectives on the art of hair dying, the studio is sparse on color and house.

Maybe this is fitting. As the studio’s artwork director, Gentle Liou, clarifies, the intention was to make it glimpse like a laboratory for hairstyles. “When we start off operate each day, we’re like, ‘Let’s check out a little something new right now,’” she claims. “We’ve gotten made use of to hoping out new tips all the time. Persons are often curious about it, but for us, it is grow to be very typical.” The studio was established in 2019 by friends Liou, Might Wang and Wesley Wei, just as Taichung grew to become Taiwan’s speediest-increasing metropolis, obtaining overtaken the southern port metropolis of Kaohsiung as Taiwan’s next most populated city. “We didn’t open the keep for a certain motive,” claims Wang, when we sit down with Liou to chat in the studio. “But we had the same perception of direction.”

Nevertheless the studio’s stereo pumps throbbing techno, the atmosphere is laid-again and subtly electric powered
as we acquire to chat. “We wished a space of our personal, an atmosphere in which we could have much more
relieve in our development,” Liou points out. The salon’s title is derived from the point that most Chinese names
comprise a few figures its ethos, states Liou, is to support men and women realise and embrace each facet of
by themselves. “To be blunt about it, we’re all weirdos,” she says. “[But] when we get jointly and cling out, we can definitely have an understanding of what is bizarre about us. We generally become friends with our customers, who in flip may well provide their own buddies by, or it might be that we conclusion up serving to them with performances or jobs. It’s a procedure of mutual assist.”

Their desire is increasing. The Nantun District salon is OOO-ing Studio’s second locale in Taichung – the initially was a small three-seat salon in an apartment– and today, their influence is felt significantly outside of the confines of the city. Whilst most of their Instagram followers are Taiwanese, the studio has obtained a wave of international awareness this year. “In the starting, we didn’t consider we would truly have an viewers,” admits Liou, “but after we designed one particular, we have been 1st nervous, and then we progressively came to experience a feeling of accomplishment.”

OOO-ing Studio’s signature designs involve airbrushed tints of neon Y2K-ish colour, and having strategic advantage of the obviously black hair of their regular purchaser. The use of paintbrushes as a substitute of standard hair dye applications provides a even more layer of dimensionality, producing for intricate latticeworks of shapes, tones and shades. Outside of textural colour, the three are elite hair-shapers, specialising in facial area-framing jellyfish cuts and a bewildering use of asymmetry. “We experience each and every particular person has their possess model, concerning how they talk, how they interact with other people today, how they gown or what they like to take in,” states Liou. “[Too many] people go after what is popular. I never believe folks should really be categorised as getting of 1 design or an additional. It is anything you decide on you.” The trio technique their operate from a standpoint of “total creation”, Liou boosting an analogy with theatre. “In the previous, it’d be much more [about] taking care of clients and their requires and creating adjustments,” she claims. “Now, we want to make it so every human being is a character. Like, you [Brian] are a character, I’m a character, and May well is also a character.”

For Liou and the group, an impressionistic method to hair is a implies to rebel against lingering nationwide taboos. “In Taiwan, the ‘mainstream’ has a perception of basic safety for some folks,” claims the artist, whose marble-influence design could even now provoke delicate offence on the streets of her metropolis. In this feeling, the studio is nearer to a motion than a regular startup company, and they recognise the salon’s wider social and cultural affect. Traditionally, colored hair has been stigmatised in a modern society that at the time noticed authoritarian rule, with limits on hair length for adult males. In 2020, Freddy Lim, a Taiwanese politician and previous frontman of the black-metallic band Chthonic, was smeared as a drug addict and sexual deviant by opponents since of his previously long hair. A couple weeks prior to my assembly with OOO-ing, Taiwan’s maximum governing administration oversight physique, the Control Yuan, declared an investigation into a superior school for corporal punishment from college students that violated hair and costume codes.

OOO-ing Studio’s operate is no extended about simply just dying hair or perfecting shapes that previously exist, but telling personal tales, painting images and weaving messages into locks. “Hair does not stand for all the things, but if you want to have inexperienced currently and red tomorrow, there is nothing erroneous with that,” says Liou. “This is some thing we want to notify everyone. That it is not just one preference, but you have lots of selections, regardless of whether which is hair or or else.” Environment up store kickstarted a system of creative and conceptual refinement that feels boundless for the team. Further than collaborations with Farfetch and Swedish eye wear brand Sunlight Buddies, the trajectory is a lot less about pocketing the upcoming massive project
and far more about growing the palate of chance.

As I pack up to leave the area, I question the trio what will make OOO-ing distinct from other salons in Taiwan, and what continues to help it drive the boat out for burgeoning hair creatives the globe around. For Liou, the studio’s USP is that it has come to be a beating heart for the city’s thriving arts scene, which in switch evokes the group to press boundaries and feed off refreshing suggestions. “[Our clients’] passions are generally art-related, and we also draw in [the kind of] consumers that could possibly be, say, lender clerks, but who have a streak of pink hair,” she suggests. “We try to perform on applying concepts collaboratively to make a design and style. For us, this is a little bit simpler than just functioning on a hairstyle.” For Wang, the respond to is extra simple: “These are men and women that seem to be to have the exact aesthetic as us,” she says. “A small minority of persons in society have occur together.”

Images TUM LIN, OOO-ing Studio director Light-weight LIOU, hair WESLEY WEI and Might WANG, casting Might WANG, products ALLEN, JUNG KUO, GINNY LI, NICOLE HUANG

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